Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Fundamental File types - Part 2

There are 3 file formats that are extremely important.  These file formats are some of the most basic and often overlooked formats around: .txt, .rtf, .csv These simplified file formats are used for importing and exporting data. Many softwares or websites will let you export data using these formats.  For example credit card companies will often let you export your transactions as a .csv file. There are many programs that then edit data on you computer. These file types are compatible with many different programs. When you know that a computer you will be taking a file to doesn’t have the same software as the computer you are using you can save it in one of these file types to make transfers simpler.  They can also often be used to send files or data via email when you don't know what software your recipient has.  Two of these formats are for text, one without formatting and one with.  The other is for tabular data.  These formats also work cross platform or in other words both Mac and Windows.

  • *.txt

    • These are simple text files. You will also sometimes see these called ASCII files. These are the simplest types of files that contain text and numbers only. The are very useful for saving the text of a document without any of the formatting or other data.

    • Using the Save As function in most Word Processing Software and choosing TEXT will also create a *.txt file.

  • *.rtf

    • These are a more complex text file type. Rtf stands for Rich Text File. These files as the name states are richer than simple text files. You can include things like bold, italics, and underlining. To create this type of a file you open Wordpad. It is Windows Operating Systems Rich Text Editor. On a Mac you can use TextEdit to create a .rtf file

    • Using the Save As function in most Word Processing Software and choosing Rich Text will also create a *.rtf file.

  • *.csv

    • This is a file type that allows you to import data into different spreadsheet or database programs.  You can create these using WordPad on Windows or TextEdit on Mace. Separate each data point with a comma. Hit enter to start a new row. When you save it you must manually enter the.csv extension.

    • The Save As function in most spreadsheets will allow you to save a spreadsheet as a .csv file and you can use any spreadsheet software to open a .csv file.

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